Is The iPhone Truely Protecting Your Privacy?

Posted by Blake Grundman on October 6th, 2010

When it comes to areas of our personal life that are sacred, I would consider my top three to be religion, relationship status and browser history.  While I have never been one for perusing sites of ill repute, occasionally a twitter link may send me awry, not to mention a not-so-well thought out Google search for girls and teacups. These indiscretions aside, I have always been one for protecting myself against the prying eye of "big brother."  I swear, I'm not paranoid, but what if I told you that your iPhone may be revealing more about you than many thought possible?

If a new report authored by Bucknell University Assistant Director of Information Security and Networking, Eric Smith, is to be believed, you may be revealing far more about yourself than you realize.

"...Amazon’s application communicates the logged-in user’s real name in plain text, along with the UDID, permitting both and network eavesdroppers to easily match a phone’s UDID with the name of the phone’s owner. The CBS News application transmits both the UDID and the iPhone device’s user-assigned name, which frequently contains the owner’s real name" -- VIA Smith's Report

Sure, these may be isolated examples of only two different applications that are passing back your personal information, but when a poll was conducted of fifty-seven free applications on the App Store, sixty-eight percent passed along your UDID to their servers.  When you combine that with cookies that have a twenty year expiration cycle, as noted by ArsTechnica's formal report, this could be a serious cause for concern.

All it would take is a bit of social engineering for an industrious person to connect the dots and suddenly your secrets would be no more.  This information isn't typically shared amongst other sites, but this information is being logged and you better assume that some day these companies plan to cash in.  I am calling it now, Skynet is coming -- so be careful where you are surfing.

[ via ArsTechnica ]

[ via iPhone Applications & Privacy Issues: An Analysis of Application Transmission of iPhone Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) ]